PrEP Summit for Providers on February 29th will explore HIV prevention method recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

By Marissa Willman

Coachella Valley healthcare providers and medical staff are invited to learn about the daily HIV prevention pill known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) from nationally-recognized PrEP educator/advocate Damon Jacobs and Get Tested Coachella Valley Program Manager Ralph Gonzalez at the PrEP Summit for Providers. The free event will be held at Desert Regional Medical Center’s Sinatra Auditorium (E. Tachevah near Miraleste) in Palm Springs from 5PM–7PM on Monday, February 29.

The CDC estimates that one in three primary care doctors and nurses haven’t heard about PrEP, an FDA-approved prevention method to prevent acquisition of HIV. [SOURCE: CDC Vital Signs, Dec. 2015] The PrEP Summit for Providers will cover frequently asked questions including the CDC guidelines. Attendees will also enjoy a complimentary light supper.

Desert AIDS Project Medical Director, David Morris, MD, will introduce the Summit’s featured speaker, Damon Jacobs, a New York-based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and HIV prevention specialist. Jacobs is best known for championing the use of PrEP through his media interviews including MSNBC, NPR, and the New York Times. He is featured as one of the 35 “Leading HIV Activists” by The Advocate Magazine, and one of the 12 “Influential Voices in HIV/AIDS for 2015” by Healthline Magazine.

Gonzalez is an HIV prevention specialist and PrEP advocate who oversees the HIV testing program for Get Tested Coachella Valley, a 3-year, $5-million campaign aimed at ending the spread of HIV in the community through routine testing.

“Although PrEP has been FDA-approved since 2012, it’s taken some time for information about this HIV prevention tool to reach healthcare providers and the community,” Gonzalez said. “Damon Jacobs speaks from the consumer point of view about his experiences and overcoming challenges regarding PrEP. His perspective gives medical professionals valuable insight into consumers’ questions.”

PrEP is a CDC-recommended therapy for those who are HIV-negative and at substantial risk for acquiring HIV. Daily PrEP use can lower one’s risk of acquiring HIV through sexual contact by more than 90%, according to the CDC. In September 2015, in one of the first and largest published evaluations of the use PrEP to prevent HIV infection in a clinical practice setting, researchers found no new HIV infections among more than 600 patients during more than 2.5 years of observation. [Source: Clinical Infectious Diseases]

The February 29th PrEP Summit for Providers is supported by funding from Gilead Sciences, Inc. and is hosted by Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P) and its new sexual health clinic, The DOCK.